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There’s no shortage of Leonard Cohen live albums from over the years, but there’s never been an official release from the man’s 1976 summer tour of Europe. This masterful two-hour Montreux set would do the trick nicely – backed by a versatile band, Cohen leans into his hits with a swagger worthy of Sinatra and offers up a handful of less-traveled tracks. You don’t really think of his music as particularly funky, but hey, it was ‘76 and disco was in the air; “Lover Lover Lover” and “There Is A War” are darkly comic boogies, with Cohen savoring every syllable. And then there’s “Do I Have To Dance All Night,” his unabashed plunge into disco, which he was playing that summer, but only released as a limited single in Europe. It’s fantastically sleazy:

I’m 41, the moon is full,
You make love very well.
You touch me like I touch myself,
I like you, Mademoiselle.

Some time in the mid-70s, an interviewer asked Cohen what he was trying to achieve with his songs. “To create a vapor and a mist,” the songwriter responded. “To make oneself attractive, to master it, to keep busy and avoid the poolroom and try to get good at what you’re doing. Really, it’s all an alibi for something nobody’s ever been able to talk about. Mostly my idea of a song is, when you feel like singing and this is your song. It’s not what songs should be, not choosing; this is the song you make because it’s the only one you can make, this is the one that is yours. The fact is that you feel like singing, and this is the song that you know.” words / t wilcox

Download: Leonard Cohen :: Montreux Jazz Festival, June 25, 1976 (zipped folder)

…playlist after the jump

Aquarium Drunkard SIRIUS RADIO

Our weekly two hour show on SIRIUS/XMU, channel 35, can be heard twice every Friday – Noon EST with an encore broadcast at Midnight EST.

SIRIUS 491: Jean Michel Bernard – Générique Stephane ++ Gil Scott-Heron – Message To The Messengers ++ Sinkane – U’Huh ++ Gal Costa – Relance ++ Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy w/ Tortoise – Cravo É Canela ++ Yoko Ono – Mind Train (AD edit) ++ Lizzy Mercier Descloux – Wawa ++ Yabby U – Conquering Dub (excerpt) ++ Serge Gainsbourg – Javanaise Remake ++ Brian Eno – No One Receiving ++ Faust – Just A Second (Starts Like That!) [excerpt] ++ Bitchin Bajas – Bajas Ragas ++ Jay Wiggins – Sad Girl ++ Ty Segall – Music For A Film 1 ++ Sonny Sharrock – Once Upon A Time ++ Voices of Conquest – Oh Yes My Lord ++ Thundercat – Day & Night ++ El Guincho – Palmitos Park ++ Rosebud – Main Theme From More ++ Shintaro Nakamoto – Love If Possible ++ David Bowie – It’s No Game (Part 1) ++ Pylon – Cool ++ Marianne Faithfull – Broken English ++ Marconi Notaro – Não Tenho Imaginação pra Mudar de Mulher ++ Mark Bolan – Pain And Love (Demo version) ++ Atlas Sound – Rained ++ Laetitia Sadier – One Million Year Trip ++ The Breathing Effect – Rising Inside ++ The Sea And Cake – A Man Who Never Sees A Pretty Girl That He Doesn’t Love ++ Vangelis – Blush Response (AD edit) ++ Peter Gabriel – Biko (AD edit) ++ Atlas Sound w/ Laetitia Sadier – Quick Canal ++ Can – All Gates Open

*You can listen, for free, online with the SIRIUS three day trial — just submit an email address and they will send you a password.
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Composed by jazz guitarist Pierre Cavalli, swirling widescreen French psychedelia lifted from the short-lived 1971 television drama Un Soir Chez Norris.

Pierre Cavalli :: Un Soir Chez Norris

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Reflecting on the ebb and flow of his career, three years prior to his death in 1994, Sonny Sharrock noted “the last five years have been pretty strange for me, because I went twelve years without making a record at all, and then in the last five, I’ve made seven records under my own name.” Or more simply put, an artist in his fifth decade unquestionably hitting his stride.

As a final curtain call, Ask The Ages is exemplary. Released in 1991 and produced by longtime co-conspirator Bill Laswell, Ages boasts a lineup filled out by Pharoah Sanders, Elvin Jones and Charnett Moffett. An early free jazz innovator in his use of guitar, Sharrock’s playing is ecstatic. Over the course of the record’s running time, the quartet’s performances mutate and swell with an emotional fervor culminating in “Once Upon A Time” – a subtle climax of spiritual intensity.

Sonny Sharrock :: Once Upon A Time (AD edit)

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This Friday Mr Bongo Records is set to reissue Gal Costa’s fourth album, 1973’s Índia. A record heralded for its brave experimentation, it’s a bold and cohesive work the label deems a “post-Tropicalia masterpiece.” We wouldn’t argue.

India is a subtle yet revolutionary statement, one in which Costa stands her ground by remaining her uncompromising self. Brave, generous, and genuine, the nine performances marvel across the record like Vaganova ballet. Groundbreaking, Índia boasts a sense of elegant futurism, one that includes the proto-new wave defiance of “Relance;” the graceful swoon of bossa-nova spells “Da Maior Importância and “Desafinado;” and the art-rock fusion of “Passarinho” and “Pontos de Luz.” A consummate interpreter, Costa treasured the material of her peers and predecessors with an adventurous sense of gratitude and wonder. The results were, however, always unmistakably her own.

Costa’s rendering of the Portuguese folk song “Milho Verde” (“Green Corn”) is something of its own ceremonial — a freeform ritual of joyous, ecstatic dance between voice and percussion. Below, dig this live footage, circa 1973, of Costa & company ripping through the folklore interpretation, infusing sparks of monumental glam and liberation…the spirit of the artists manifesting in form throughout high charges of electric movement. Sensual, tribal, earthly, Costa’s presence and spirit is hers and hers alone. words / c depasquale


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Ahmed Gallab is Sinkane. The Sudanese-American multi-instrumentalist, who to date has released six genre bending albums of rhythmic poly-global funk, pop and electronica, returned earlier this year with Life & Livin’ It. That record, like much of his discography, roots freely; a borderless aural cross-pollination of soulful pan-African and Jamaican sounds stirred into a bouillabaisse of American pop, rock, r&b and beyond. It’s an intoxicating brew on record and even more so live. Which is worth noting as Gallab also fronts The Atomic Bomb! Band, an ad hoc touring supergroup who play and pay tribute to the music of the late Nigerian Sai Baba of electro-funk, William Onyeabor.

The following is a mix Gallab put together for AD — a ten track composite of the sounds of his childhood, as heard via warbly heirloom cassettes. The artist in his own words, below.

Every Sudanese family has a drawer full of cassettes in their home. Some are original recordings, others dubbed from live shows with a scratchy label written in scribble Arabic. These songs were the soundtrack of our youth and continue to play on in our apartments as young adults. The sounds take us back to hot summer days. Waking up to the sounds and smells of Sudan. Our moms and aunts cooking and gossiping. Our dads and uncles arguing about politics. It’s a reminder of where we come from and how colorful life is.

Sinkane :: A Sudanese Mixtape

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Ask the most dedicated followers of British folk rock about the most sought after lost classic of the canon, and you’ll likely hear 1972’s Bright Phoebus: The Songs of Mike and Lal Waterson cited as a holy grail. The work of two siblings, it followed the dissolution of their family band the Watersons. Mike and Lal assembled a massive cast to record the album, including sister Norma Waterson, Ashley Hutchings, much of the lineup of Steeleye Span, Martin Carthy, Richard Thompson and Dave Mattacks of Fairport Convention, and more. But it was released to little fanfare. Due to a manufacturing error, only 1,000 copies ever found their way into the hands of folk fans, many of whom were confused by the band’s peculiar mix of avant-garde, country, folk, and psychedelia, and bewildered by the disillusioned and wounded lyrical sensibility.

But dedicated listeners kept Bright Phoebus alive, passing the album along around as a bootleg. It gained high profile fans like Stephen Malkmus, Billy Bragg, Arcade Fire, and Jarvis Cocker and Richard Hawley. Though the Lal and Mike both passed away (in 1998 and 2011, respectively) the album continued to grow in esteem. Recently, it was finally reissued by Domino Records, with great great taken to enhance its fidelity and expand its context (the new edition features demos and longform notes by scholar Pete Paphides).

One of the album’s most vocal admirers is M.C. Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger. It’s one of Taylor’s favorites, and it’s not hard to hear a similar play between the elements of light and shadow in the songs of his forthcoming album, Hallelujah Anyhow, due out September 22 via Merge Records. AD spoke to Taylor at his hotel room outside of Portland, Oregon, where he was prepping for a set at Pickathon. Below, his thoughts on the haunting longevity of Bright Phoebus.

Mike and Lal Waterson :: Scarecrow”

M.C. Taylor: I got quite into British folk music in the early 2000s through a friend of mine named Michael Talbot who, he was younger than me, but he just had an encyclopedic knowledge, particularly of British folk music. I really liked the Watersons…you gotta be in it totally…you gotta have a dedication [to listen]…you’ve got to wanna be there at that place. That music speaks to me, their particular voices, there was something about them that I really felt compelling.

There was something that felt timeless about it, it was sort of biblical in that way. Then of course…I heard about Bright Phoebus, probably in 2005, I would say. I tracked a copy down. I actually have an original Topic pressing. I didn’t realize until really recently that only 1,000 copies of that record actually made it out, because there were manufacturing issues and stuff with that record. I found a copy back then and there’s something about that record that sort of put it in the same space that all of my favorite records exist in, which is that I didn’t get it on first listen — or even the first 10 listens — but there was something that compelled me to keep going back to it.